ST. LOUIS -- After an 18-game demotion to Triple-A -- a level he hadn't played at since 2012 -- outfielder Shane Robinson rejoined the Cardinals on Wednesday with confidence in his swing and a determination, to use his words, not "to go back down again."
The Cardinals altered the look of their bench with the roster move, which also included optioning Joey Butler to Memphis. Butler went hitless in six plate appearances during his big league stint.
"A lot like what we've done so far this season -- moving guys back and forth," manager Mike Matheny said. "Shane we sent down to get some work and to sharpen up. He went down and did a real nice job, hitting the ball extremely well. I think we made it clear that when we did send him out, he's one of the guys who has a spot in this clubhouse. He's a very respected player and part of this team the last few years. It was nice to see him go and work on the things he needed to work on and sharpen up and hopefully come back and be able to contribute."
Robinson was sent to Memphis on April 27, when the Cardinals made a series of roster moves to shake up their offense. He was able to get regular playing time in Memphis and hit .371 with 12 runs scored in 18 games. He had gone 2-for-20 in his time with the Cardinals prior to the demotion.
"Just get in a groove with the swing and everything," Robinson said when asked what he accomplished during his time away. "Getting everyday playing time down there, it was easy to get some repetition, get some looks at different pitching and kind of get my swing back. If you're looking at it that way, getting some at-bats and seeing some consistent pitching, I think it was a positive in that aspect."
Nevertheless, he described the demotion as a surprise.
"I definitely wasn't expecting it," Robinson said. "I had the option [year], so I knew it was possible. But I didn't think it would happen and didn't know it would happen. It was good to get down there and get some consistent ABs and feel good at the plate again."
That regular playing time is not something that will continue in the Majors, as Robinson fits as a fifth outfielder on this club. He does offer Matheny a pinch-running and defensive replacement option in addition to his being able to pinch-hit.
"It's been a couple years since he had that consistent time and I think it was a great tuneup for him," Matheny said. "Hopefully this will help him feel a little bit more confident so that when we use him, he'll come up big for us."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.